BOSTON – Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown weighed in on the discussion about racism in Boston ahead of Game 3 of his team’s first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night, saying the issue transcends basketball.
Brown, addressing the media for the first time since undergoing season-ending wrist surgery earlier this month, spoke out in the wake of comments made before Game 3 by Kyrie Irving, who had said that he hoped there would be no belligerence or racism at TD Garden when the series moved to Boston.
Brown declined to respond to questions from the media, saying instead he had “a perspective to share.”
“I saw things in Boston and the issue of racism,” he said. “People around me asked me to share my perspective. I haven’t spoken to anyone, Kyrie, Marcus [Smart] or Danny Ainge [GM de los Celtics], about my thoughts or my perspective, but I think it’s a good conversation. I believe that racism must be addressed and systemic racism must be addressed in the city of Boston, and also in the United States.
“However, I do not like the way it was raised, centered on a playoff game. The construction of racism, right? It is used as a crutch or an opportunity to execute personal gain. I am not saying that is the one. But I think racism is bigger than basketball, and I think racism is bigger than Playoff Game 3. I want to urge the media to paint that narrative too. Because when it’s painted that way it’s callous for people who have to deal with it on a daily basis.
“The buildings and limitations of systemic racism in our school system, inequality in education, lack of opportunity, homelessness, lack of affordable housing, lack of affordable health care, symbolism, the list goes on. So I acknowledge and acknowledge my privilege as an athlete. Once you get to the point where that financial experience outweighs the experiences that people deal with on a daily basis, I want to emphasize that as well. “
After Tuesday’s landslide victory over the Celtics in Brooklyn, Irving, who hasn’t played a TD Garden game with fans in the arena since leaving as a free agent two years ago, said he expected fans to stick strictly to the basketball.
“I’m looking forward to competing with my teammates and hopefully we can keep it strictly in basketball – no belligerence or racism, subtle racism,” Irving said. “People are yelling shit in the crowd, but even if it is, it’s part of the nature of the game and we’re just going to focus on what we can control.”
Irving was then asked if he had ever dealt with racist comments made to him while at TD Garden. He said “I was not the only one who could attest to it” and raised his hands.
Smart, who has written for The Players Tribune about the racist comments he’s heard in Boston in the past, echoed Irving’s comments after practice Thursday, saying he hoped fans would be respectful in the way they address. the former Celtics star.
Two years ago, a TD Garden fan received a two-year ban for yelling a racial slur at All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins, then with the Golden State Warriors, in a game on January 26, 2019. Current Nets star Kevin Durant was on that Warriors team, while Irving at the time was still a member of the Celtics.
Since Irving made those comments Tuesday night, incidents have emerged with fans in Philadelphia and New York, as well as in Salt Lake City, where several Jazz fans were ejected from Game 2 of their series against the Memphis Grizzlies for comments. racists directed at the family. by Ja Morant.
“I understand the frustration at this point,” Brown said. “I’ve seen what’s happening in sports and in the sports arenas with the two incidents obviously with Russell Westbrook and Trae Young, and I’m angry, to be honest. I don’t think we should have to put up with that, and I don’t think that’s well, by no means is it necessary. But when I look in the media and I see those incidents attached as a frame of racism, yes, I think it is important to address those situations, but if the issue is racism I think those incidents are not compared, or those belligerent comments don’t compare to what systemic racism is currently doing in our community and has done in the past, so it’s important to frame it in that context.
“I think not all Celtics fans, I know that all Celtics fans in our arena are not racist. We have people from all walks of life, ethnicities, colors, who are die-hard Celtics fans. So I think painting every Celtics fan as a racist would be unfair. However, Boston, we have a lot of work to do, no question. The incarceration rate is ridiculous, the wealth disparity is disgraceful, the inequality in education specifically in Boston public schools must be better.
“There’s a lack of resources there, a lack of opportunities. Tokenism here in Boston needs to be addressed as well. But if we’re going to talk about that and that’s what the media is going to come up with, I think in a sports field, things could exist. But in the real world things exist in very different extremes. So I definitely wanted to share my perspective. This is my opinion, of course, and people can question it. I definitely think that in Boston, we have a lot of work to do. “